THE clash of the week in the North Devon Football League failed to change the positions of Premier Division table toppers Bideford Reserves and Torridgeside, who fought out a 2-2 draw.

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But it was good news for Boca Seniors and North Molton, who both draw closer in the tight title race following comprehensive wins.

An action-packed start to the top-of-the-table game brought an early goal and early controversy.

Torridgeside were in front after only 10 minutes when good linking down the line by Robbie Holland and Kyle Paine brought a cross for Paddy Ions to tap in. Shortly afterwards there was a melee on the pitch and Bideford’s Will Nicholls received his marching orders for alleged foul language.

Despite being a man down, Bideford enjoyed the better possession and drew level five minutes before the break when Sam Phillips cut in and struck an equaliser.

Torridgeside started the second half well and took the lead again when Kyle Paine clipped the ball in to Rob Holland, who chipped it over the keeper. But the drama was still not over as 10-man Bideford upped their game and were rewarded by a late equaliser from substitute Matt Kelly, who finished off a solo run by drilling the ball into the corner of the net with five minutes remaining.

Eight more for Boca

Reigning champions Boca Seniors, meanwhile, continued their familiar late charge, moving ominously closer with an 8-1 win away to Chittlehampton that brings their scoring record to 25 goals in their last three league matches. Mark Gilfillian hit a hat-trick and the other Boca goals came from Scott Sharp, Mark Barrow (2) an own goal and Jack Jenkins.

North Molton, still with plenty of games in hand, also moved closer with a 5-1 win at home to Bradworthy. Tom Marsh hit a hat-trick and Jamie Gifford and an own goal accounted for the others. Tudor Placinta was the Bradworthy scorer and stand in goalkeeper Richard Hudson had a cracking game.

Appledore Reserves continued their climb with a 3-1 win away to Ilfracombe Reserves. Sean Brown put Combe in front, but Appledore were level by half time and two goals in the final 10 minutes brought them victory. Jesse Curtis, Hallum Cook and Dave Stevens netted for the Fishermen.

Putford stay bottom, but gained a welcome 2-1 result away to fellow strugglers Barnstaple AAC.

A Chris Pomeroy free kick gave Putford the lead and Matt Coles put them 2-0 before the Ammies mounted a fightback, but could only pull one goal back through Carl Smith.

Shamwickshire and Shebbear United shared six goals and the points at Pollyfield.

Gary Buck put Shammy ahead, but a chance to widen the gap was missed when Sam Bissett’s penalty shot hit a post and the tables then turned. Shebbear punished some sloppy defending with two quick goals to take the lead before Joe Baker pulled it back to 2-2 at the break. Shammy enjoyed the better of the second half, but a goal by Adam Halling was their only reward, while Shebbear battled hard and took their chance for an equaliser.

Dolton also shared the points at home to Georgeham and Croyde in a 1-1 draw.

Georgeham started the brightest and Beau Bromham gave them an early lead following a good move down the right, but Dolton were back on terms after 25 minutes when Tom Plows scored his first senior goal for the club with a fine first time finish. Dolton pushed in the second half but could not find a way through, one great save denying another Tom Plows effort.

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